Thursday, July 2, 2009

Salma Hayek 'still' breastfeeding - world can't decide whether to jerk off or prosecute

This is a montage of images from hyperventilating stories about Salma Hayek “Still”! Breastfeeding! At! 13! Months!

The world has burst into a babblefest of gossip about how bizarre this is. There has been an outpouring of shock and disdain, complete with accusations of perversity and child sexual abuse. Here’s a sampling of the buzz. reports:

Salma Hayek is still breastfeeding her 13 month old daughter Valentina-Paloma, for three reasons:

first because it’s good for her baby’s health, second because she feels she shares a special bond with her daughter, and third because she loves how big her milkers got, trying to pass it off as being addicted to breastfeeding:

“I’m like an alcoholic. It is like, I don’t care if I cry, I don’t care if I am fat, I am just going to do it for one more week, one more month, and then when I see how much good it is doing her and I can’t stop.”

Where does it say there that she feeds for the breast enlargement? She enjoys breastfeeding, and she believes it is good for her daughter. OMG! A woman is happily mothering! Stop the presses!

…Why are the presses stopped? Because Salma Hayek’s breasts are public property, that’s why.

Celeb Amour reports:

Salma Hayek is still breast-feeding her daughter, Valentina, whom she had with French businessman Fran├žois-Henri Pinault in September 2007. Breast-feeding for an entire year. I have to wonder if that’s not one of the reasons the wedding was called off? Maybe ex-squeeze wanted a little more action than what the kiddo was getting.

Views From A Broad:


From the comments:

As A Licensed Psychiatrist I agree that children should be weaned at about a year old. Beyond that breastfeeding is not necessary and is likely to be some form of child sexual abuse. Clearly once a child is able to eat solids and drink from a cup breastfeeding is not needed. I think some women use it as an excuse in order to fullfill some emotional void in their life or sexual void. Its a lack of maturity on the womans part. It tends to create emotionally damaged children. This children are clearly overly dependent on their mother. They have a lot of issues throughout their lives and require counseling and other things to try to get some normalacy back.

In Other Words–That is Just Plain Fucked UP!!!


What Thom said…after a year, she is definitely doing her daughter a disservice unnecessarily creating potential serious dependency and abandonment issues that could last a lifetime…also I detect a certain sexual, exhibitionist element accompanying the statement that she’s “addicted” to having a 1 year old person suck on her breasts…it’s not like the kid is going to starve without it…Wow Selma, I didn’t realize it was all about YOU and not the kid, ya annoying, attention mongering, self serving bitch…the woman has “issues” and needs to have her head examined.

The Huffington Post comments are a mix of breastfeeding support, colossal ignorance, leering over Hayek’s breasts, and accusations of creepiness and obscenity. A sampling of the negative comments:

If this keeps up, that kid will have to go to a college within 5 miles of home.

Honestly…What kid could give those up?

sooo hot

and people fight to ban breastfeeding in public…

Suddenly , I’m in the mood for chocolate-chip cookies…

It’s obscene! once a kid has TEETH, the breastfeeding can stop! THey can eat mushy food now!

ew. I know new moms who think breastfeeding after 6 months is indecent.

OK guys. Line forms behind me!

I am soooo jealous of that baby!

When a kid can walk over, lift up the mom’s shirt on his own, and say that he wants some…. well that is just plain CREEPY. Breastfeeding should stop at around a year old.

Yeah, TMI but more power to her. I breastfed my oldest son for 15 months. But when they start asking for it, it’s time to stop!

I love you, Salma, but TMI, girl, TMI

When they are old enough to ask, maybe it’s time to wean. That being said, Selma looks wonderful, and I think it is fine that she is breast feeding her 14-month-old.

for the first time in my adult male life I suddenly wish to be a little mexican girl… ; )

I wanna be adopted by her.

Breast Milk is nasty.


Salma, please breastfeed me…

That photo has my mouth watering, and I’m in my thirties.

Here, here… Let’s belly up to the breast, er, bar boys!

She’s is an excellent actress in my opinion, but the boob show is bad. She has milk-swollen breasts being pushed up and really, it’s gross. What is this obsession with women, particularly actresses, having their boobs bulging out like cows?

Man, what can I say? Can I have a snack?

Celebrity Baby Blog to the rescue! Leaving out the weight-loss talk:

Good for her.

It’s wonderful to hear a celeb talking about extended nursing. My son is 16 months and we’re still nursing.

yea for salma! i found that breastfeeding was very hard at first, but i kept at it and am so glad i did. it was effortless after awhile.

I thrill to hear celebrity mothers speak out about extended nursing - it warms my heart.

I think it’s fantastic that she said she would continue nursing no matter what, even if she was fat. That’s HUGE in Hollywood! Kudos to Salma!

I think it is great that Salma is doing what is best for her and her baby. She looks fabulous and her baby is one lucky baby!

So what’s going on here?

It’s not as simple as “The Patriarchy wants women to not breastfeed” or “The Patriarchy wants women to breastfeed”. What The Patriarchy “wants” (if you’ll bear with me on this somewhat teleological train of thought) is to have control over breastfeeding. Sometimes that might involve coercion to breastfeed (while withholding full support), sometimes coercion to not breastfeed, sometimes breastfeeding is a tool to confine women to the domestic environment, sometimes guilt over not breastfeeding is cultivated to sell women more products. Above all, breastfeeding women are reminded day after day after day that their bodies are public property, that breastfeeding isn’t a free pass out of the sex class, and that whatever they do, there will be no shortage of people telling them that they’re doing it wrong.

Australian and USAn societies are down there with the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world. We have developed a peculiarly pernicious mix of:

* half-secularised Puritanism;

* half-baked woman-hating Freudianism;

* toxic capitalism;

* mother-hostile workplace practices;

* social isolation of new mothers;

* a deep-seated fear and suspicion of any bodily intimacy that isn’t sexual;

* and an overwhelming sense of proprietorship of breasts by heterosexual men.

The jealousy thread is the one that’s standing out to me today. (Other days, it’s other things.) CelebAmour brought this home when they blamed Hayek’s relationship breakup on breastfeeding - a common allegation levelled at new mothers. When women use their breasts in ways that don’t centre around men’s desires, women are demonised. And what better way to demonise people than to denounce them for our most despised crime, child sexual abuse?

Physical closeness with a baby can be pleasurable, sensual; and our society is flummoxed by that. We confuse all sensuality and physical pleasure with sexuality. Breasts are seen as a symbol of women’s sexual availability, from Page Three Girls to pornstars to politicians’ cleavage. Combine physical intimacy with the fact that breasts are involved and men are being ignored, and misogynists come out of the woodwork, finger-pointing and gibbering.

Then there’s the biological ignorance. The arguments about teeth, based in biological and evolutionary nonsense, fall at the slightest examination. “Teeth are for food!”, people argue, claiming that once babies grow their first incisors, they are obviously biologically ready for weaning. In fact, we are the only primate to wean that early - others wean around the time that the first permanent molars appear.

Arguments based in linguistic development make even less sense, if that’s possible. “If a baby can ask for it, it’s time to stop!” ignores that fact that babies ask to be fed from birth - many can even latch themselves on with no assistance. Linguistic development varies dramatically between babies, with some developing words as early as six months, and some as late as two years or beyond (or never, of course, for some). Why the timing of the first word should coincide with forced weaning is beyond me.

People parrot stuff from the world around them. My generation is repeating received wisdom from the doctors of our mothers and aunts, at a time when breastfeeding was at its lowest ebb. NASA was putting men on the moon, science was king, and women were told that super-technological “clean”, “healthy”, “modern” formula was the best possible thing for their babies and for them. They were told that if their newborn wanted to feed more than once every three hours, their milk “wasn’t rich enough”. They were told that babies should sleep through the night. They were told that holding babies spoiled them. They were told, with wrinkled nose, that breastfeeding was just for “primitive” people.

There’s a huge privilege issue in here as well. The only reason some industrialised societies have had the opportunity to develop this overweening “breasts are just for sex!” attitude is because we have the privilege to feed babies modified cows’ milk from a bottle without a huge proportion of them dying. While artificial feeding does carry significant risks even in the best circumstances, artificial feeding causes one and a half million deaths worldwide every year. However, the World Health Organisation’s recommendation that breastfeeding continue to two years and beyond is not limited to countries with unsafe water supplies; it applies wordwide. (More at the ABA and kellymom.)

And, because any post in support of breastfeeding is bound to bring the “You’re just being a big ol’ meanyhead to formula-feeding mums!” comments out, here’s my general approach, as outlined here before:

* Can’t breastfeed? My sympathy if you’re grieving, and the best support, assistance, substitutes (ideally donor human milk) and assistive devices should be available.

* Won’t breastfeed? This is none of my business, on an individual level. It’s your body. My only interest is on a collective level, insofar as patriarchal society is coercing women’s choices, via socialisation, marketing, abuse, social isolation, religious oppression, medical misinformation, workplace practices, and so on.

* When people start leering, demonising, accusing, and excluding women for mothering? I. see. red.


WateryTart said...

i can't believe there are no comments on this. what a great title... so true. i plan to breastfeed my one year old until he can tell me with words that he doesn't want to any more and whoever thinks that's creepy has a real problem. i can't agree with you more on everything you have written here. thank you.

Jennifer said...

People just want to complain because they don't have enough in their own life to worry about. My baby is two months old and I can't breastfeed her because the hospital ruined it, forcing me to pump and giving her a bottle to make sure they knew how much she was getting. For 7 months, I'd had all the scientifically proven benefits drilled into my head by home visiting nurses. Breast milk has proven to be the best food, at any given age as it changes with the baby's needs (hormones exchanged between mom and baby somehow make this happen). I can't breast feed because my baby loves the faster flowing bottle, but my goal is to pump as long as I can do it.
I think the issue here is that Americans have gotten to used to everything easy and fast-microwavable meals (which I could NEVER find living in foreign countries), fast food, instant finger nails, extra stregnth medicine, giving formula instead of taking the time every 2 hours to feed the baby.
How is limiting your day by being attached to your baby's needs a selfish act? People need to learn that they will never beat mother nature's guidance. No formula will ever developed the AI to know what a particular baby needs. ANd studies have proven that babies who feel more secure with their mothers/caretakers have a better chance at breaking away because they know that someone will always be there for them. It's the children without a safe base who become attached, for need of what they are lacking.